We, As Ourselves

TIME’S UP, me too. International, and National Women’s Law Center Launch First-Ever Week of Action Focused on Black Survivors

Black survivors, Culture, Safety, We, As Ourselves


The Inaugural Week of Action Is a Project of “We, As Ourselves” Campaign, Which Aims to Challenge Prevailing and Harmful Narratives about Black Survivors of Sexual Violence Across the Gender Spectrum. 

Washington, D.C.  – Today, ‘me too.’ International, the National Women’s Law Center, and TIME’S UP Foundation are commemorating Sexual Assault Awareness Month with the first-ever Week of Action focused on Black survivors (April 26-30). The Week of Action is a key initiative of  We, As Ourselves, a campaign to change the conversation about sexual violence and its impact on Black communities.

“There’s been work done on local levels and by grassroots community organizations. But we’ve never had a national campaign specific to Black survivors of sexual violence,” said Tarana Burke, founder and executive director of ‘me too.’ International. “Now we do. We, As Ourselves is here for the long-haul and to show up for Black survivors at every turn to say ‘we see you,’ ‘we’re here for you,’ ‘we believe you,’ and ‘we’re here to help you get the support you need.’”   

Each day of action will highlight a central theme centered on the specific needs and support essential for Black survivors, such as “Reimagining Black Survivorhood” and “Examining the Role Media Plays in Changing Harmful Narratives.” Through daily art activations by Black artists from the Center for Cultural Power, the campaign will also raise awareness about the challenges facing Black survivors. 

“It’s not a new idea that survivors aren’t believed. But for Black survivors there is an additional intersecting of race and of sex stereotypes,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO at the National Women’s Law Center. “The range of racist and sexist stories that are conjured about Black women shapes their interactions with institutions when they come forward – whether it’s with police should they decide to report, to counselors, or even allies.”

This inaugural Week of Action builds on the coalition’s aim to: 1) create safe spaces where Black survivors can confront their stories; 2) upend cultural narratives that harm and silence Black survivors; and 3) build new practices wherein Black survivors are believed, heard, and supported. 

“Black women have been on the forefront of fighting for survivor justice but at the same time are invisible in the stories that were being told, and feel unworthy of care in this movement,” said Monifa Bandele, COO of TIME’S UP Foundation. “We’re calling on the media and public to see us, hear our stories, and center Black survivors.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

Too often Black survivors are silenced, vilified, or not believed when they come forward. In fact, recent studies reveal:

  • Black women report experiencing workplace sexual harassment at three times the rate of white women.
  • For every Black woman who reports rape, at least 15 do not report.
  • A recent study found prosecutors filed charges in 75% of the cases in which a white woman was attacked, but when the victim was a Black woman, prosecutors filed charges just 34% of the time.
  • Half of all Black transgender women are survivors of sexual violence and two thirds of Black transgender people said they would be uncomfortable asking the police for help.

Learn more about the Week of Action and We, As Ourselves at https://weasourselves.org/blacksaamweek/

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‘me too.’ International

‘me too.’ International serves as a convener, thought leader, and organizer across the mainstream and the grassroots to address systems that allow for the proliferation of sexual violence, specifically in Black, queer, trans, disabled, and all communities of color. Leveraging its model and framework and grounded in existing research and theory, ‘me too.’ centers individual and community healing and transformation, empowerment through empathy, shifting cultural narratives and practices, and advancing a global survivor-led movement to end sexual violence. The ‘me too.’ website has toolkits, a directory, and healing support specialists who can connect survivors with counselors, therapy centers, and other resources. 

National Women’s Law Center

National Women’s Law Center fights for gender justice — in the courts, in public policy, and in our society — working across the issues that are central to the lives of women and girls. We use the law in all its forms to change culture and drive solutions to the gender inequity that shapes our society and to break down the barriers that harm all of us — especially those who face multiple forms of discrimination, including women of color, LGBTQ people, and low-income women and families. For more than 45 years, we have been on the leading edge of every major legal and policy victory for women. 

TIME’S UP Foundation

The TIME’S UP™ Foundation is the programmatic arm of TIME’S UP. We pioneer innovative research driving toward solutions to address systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace through the TIME’S UP Impact Lab. And we support industry leaders in shifting the paradigm of workplace culture toward one of safety, equity, and dignity for all. The TIME’S UP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.